News in Brief 12 November 2015 (PM)

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Credit: GAVI Alliance

Pneumonia: world's leading killer of children under five

Pneumonia is the world's leading killer of children under five-years-old.

That's the grim statistic underlying World Pneumonia Day, which is being marked on Thursday by the World Health Organization (WHO), among others.

An estimated 922,000 children under five have died from the infectious disease this year alone, according to the latest figures, which accounts for 16 per cent of all deaths in the age group.

The disease is most prevalent in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and it is treatable, and highly-preventable.

The World Pneumonia Day coalition calculates that improving vaccine coverage in the most vulnerable areas could save as many as 2.9 million lives.

US$17m released by UN to combat drought in Ethiopia

The UN has released US$17 million from its emergency fund to help fight the effects of Ethiopia's worst drought in decades.

The money from the Central Emergency Response Fund will be available to support those most affected immediately, said the UN's humanitarian chief, Stephen O'Brien.

The failure of spring and summer rains has created food and water shortages for millions.

Reading Mr O'Brien's statement, the Secretary-General's spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, told reporters it was vital to respond now.

"If we don't act today, we face an even graver situation tomorrow, with more immense needs in 2016. The number of people who need food assistance in East Africa is forecast to increase to over 22 million at the start of next year, with 15 million of those in Ethiopia alone."

Thousands of isolated civilians in need of aid in Darfur

Aid agencies said they have identified up to 18,000 people in urgent need of food aid in a remote Sudanese town in North Jebel Marra, Darfur.

The UN said on Thursday that partner agencies were planning to provide shelter and three months of food rations to around 8,000 in the town of Fanga Suk.

It's been inaccessible to aid organizations for more than four years.

Relief efforts were thwarted earlier this year after fighting between rebels and government troops intensified.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’57″

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